FATF calls for stricter actions from Pakistan on crackdown of terror groups

WION Web Team Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan Dec 23, 2019, 05.48 PM(IST)

Representative Image Photograph:( ANI )

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The FATF has also asked the Pakistan government to provide them with copies of the FIRs filed against terror suspects and wants to observe progress from Pakistan's side.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continues to be hot on Pakistan's trail as the global anti-terror watchdog has intensified the call for a more meaningful crackdown on terror groups in the country.

The FATF had cornered Pakistan on 27 points but they could only satisfy the global watchdog in five of those parametres.

The FATF had warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if it failed to comply with the remaining 22 points, following which on December 6, Islamabad dispatched a report with its clarifications on the remaining FATF queries.

In response, FATF has doubled down on Pakistan and issued a fresh set of 150 questions.

The queries revolve around Madrassas in Pakistan, a large number of which continue to be operated by so-called charity wings of known terror organisations. For instance, the Jamat-ud-Dawa, led by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Reports from Pakistan indicate that the JUD operates close to 300 madrassas in the country. The government's crackdown has been half-hearted as it has only managed to take over about 56 madrassas in the Sindh province.

The FATF has also asked the Pakistan government to provide them with copies of the FIRs filed against terror suspects and wants to observe progress from Pakistan's side.

Islamabad's response can be assessed from the case of Hafiz Saeed, a first attempt at indicting him was a failure because his co-conspirators could not be produced and on December 11, charges were ultimately framed.

What followed is a stop-start trial, marred by a lawyers' strike. Even today, the case was adjourned despite witnesses being produced because the defence consul abstained from showing up due to the strike.

Pakistan's tactics to deal with these queries will influence the discourse at the next FATF plenary in Beijing from January 21 to 24.

Pakistan will be allowed to defend itself at this plenary.

There is a probability that since the February deadline set for compliance with the 22 points has been deemed rather impossible, Pakistan could get a breather until June 2020.